In which only the real animals were restless.

The Sunday of Bee’s actual birthday (and Auntie Rhi’s last day of vacation), we decided to all start our day off at the zoo. Because it was Bee’s birthday and I was pretty much going to say yes to anything (although I’m not that stupid – I didn’t tell them that), when the girls asked us if we could go through the zoo backwards, I said of course we can!

Going backwards meant that the first thing we saw was not one, but two exhibits of flamingos! (Oh, hey, was that planned? I am so sneaky.) Flamingos are possibly Auntie Rhi’s spirit animal. Or maybe she is their spirit animal – I can never keep it straight. heh.


Auntie Rhi was so excited to see them, I think she even danced like a flamingo, waving her arms excited and pushing over small children to get nearer. Okay, okay, only half of that is true. But it was pretty funny, because every time we walk past those flamingos, I take a pic for Auntie Rhi and send them her best.

The fun thing about going early in the morning is that a lot of the animals are up and about and haven’t yet settled down for their ohmygodthesunistoohot naps. We saw the stripey deer thingies playing tag – honest-to-god tag. And the zebra was running around and pretending to be all Marty-like. Even the crocodile was moving around.  There was one little penguin (camera shy, he was) who walked around with the zookeeper, helping her wash out the corners of their outdoor enclosure. Honestly, I think he thought he was part puppy, the way he faithfully stayed by her side. Even the mountain lion was restless.


Because it was Bee’s birthday and I had already settled on saying yes, when the girls asked if we could go into the Bat and Snakes exhibit, I just kind of sighed. Rhi was disappointed the bats weren’t more swoopy, and then wasted her What Animal Would You Take Home With You? selection on the jumping gerbil. Even the kids were all, “REALLY?!” (The rest of us: elephant, giraffe, and cheetah. We’re going to have to give Rhi’s animal a samurai sword just to help it keep up.) But I tried not to make fun of Rhi too much for her lame-o choice because she had just gotten stung by a bee and consequently had bee rabies.

It was actually kind of funny. But only because we are demented. Well, obviously. You’ve met me, right? So, Rhi all of a sudden declared that something really sharp had bitten her. Then she said she thought it was a bee because she had brushed away its gooey bum-bits when she went to wipe at whatever it was. We never saw the bee and she never felt it until she was all HOLY HELL about it. Plus, there was a stinger in there. I couldn’t get it out at first, and then came up with a brilliant idea! I grabbed for the front of my backpack (which, by the way, had been soaked a bit earlier when we realized the spray sunblock we were going to put on had been accidentally triggered in my backpack and everything in there was covered with greasy lotiony goo. But my backpack wouldn’t be getting burned anytime soon. Sigh.) and told Rhi I had chewing gum – I could chew it, apply it to the sting, and the stinger would get stuck. Then we could pull the gum away and voila! She said she thought I was just going to use a credit card to scrape against the stinger like they recommend. Wise guy. So that’s what we actually tried, only it didn’t work. Eventually, I pulled the stinger out with my nails, and all was well. Rhi didn’t blow up like a balloon, she didn’t start wheezing, there weren’t any hives. Her elbow hurt and wouldn’t bend at first, so I teased her about having lockjaw in her elbow. Which is how the whole “bee rabies” thing started. I even offered to throw some water on her to see if she was scared of it.

I told you all the animals were restless and sinister. Including this crocodile, very near the scene of the bee crime. You can just tell he’s beckoning us closer…just a little closer…


On the way back, because our slushies and cotton candy were gone and because I think the girls were catching on to the whole “just say yes” thing, they asked for snow cones. And of course I said yes. The girls devoured them as we walked through the aviary – a portion of the zoo we usually skip, but we might have to start taking more often. If only because Bee needs bird lessons. She saw this and asked, “Is that a pigeon?”


Um…no? Not unless Auntie Rhi and her blingy skillz have gotten ahold of it. (That Mo Willems book would be called Don’t Let the Pigeon Into Auntie Rhi’s Closet.)

We hit all of the usual attractions – the tigers and bears and lions and elephants and giraffes. We saw the baby hippo that is now roughly the size of an original Volkswagon. But we were all pretty tired at that point. We took the train back to the playground area because it was Bee’s birthday, and also because they had seats for grown-ups and also air conditioning. I hate going to that playground and was delighted to notice that it’s for kiddos 48″ and smaller. Aw, golly – the girls are too tall. We snuck them in because it was Bee’s birthday and all, but I neatly tucked that knowledge away for next time. This getting bigger thing sure comes in handy from time to time.

Not a bad trip, if you ask me. You know – aside from the bee rabies.


2 Responses to “In which only the real animals were restless.”

  1. Kim Says:

    I would like to formally request a copy of Don’t Let the Pigeon Into Auntie Rhi’s Closet for Christmas!!! (I laughed so hard, I spit out my tea…).

  2. Kathy Says:

    Sounds like a great birthday & zoo trip. Bee is one lucky girl.

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